If I could sum up the essence of the Carver C43 Coupe in two words, they would be living space. That’s because, just as it did with the C40 and the C37 before it, Carver seeks to maximize usable space belowdecks, in the salon and also in the aft cockpit.
It starts with Carver’s plumb bow design. Instead of the heavy taper at the bow seen on most modern planing boats, the plumb bow carries the hull sides almost vertically down to the water, maximizing the beam forward. This design element allows for the spacious master stateroom with a private en suite head. Though still nestled in the stem of the boat, the island berth sits lower than it would on a boat with a tapered bow, allowing for easier entrance and exit from the bed. There’s also wider space to either side than you’d typically find. With 6 feet 8 inches of headroom belowdecks, the whole space feels like it has the nautical equivalent of cathedral ceilings.
Notably, the en suite head to port has a separate shower stall so that cruisers can bathe without dousing the entire bathroom. The sink features a trendy elevated basin. A skylight overhead keeps the space brightly lit, and of course there’s the obligatory privacy shade.
There’s a well-appointed guest head across the hall on the starboard side that is accessible from the hallway or the guest stateroom just aft of it. The guest stateroom features twin beds that can be converted to a full via a cushion insert.
Upstairs, the living space — from the helm to the salon and out to the cockpit — is all about flow. Everything is on the same level, allowing for continuous movement between the galley, the dinette and the cockpit. The setup maximizes entertainment value. With the double-wide seat at the helm and another directly opposite the helm to port, the captain can be included in conversation as well. I like how the helm seat features a separate flip-up bolster for the captain so he or she can adjust the seat to sit or stand as desired. The helm features an inset dash for flush-mount electronics and an ergonomically placed steering wheel that tilts to the captain’s preference. The joystick control sits to the left of the helm, the rocker switch controls to the right. Everything is within easy reach whether standing or sitting. With the skinny mullions in the windshield and windows around the entire salon, Carver does a great job in maximizing visibility from the helm, though a coupe never achieves the unfettered 360-degree visibility a bridge design affords, as found aboard the sister C40.
If it’s light and openness you want, though, push a button and retract the sunroof, a feature that boaters in the Southern region will adore. The galley runs aft of the passenger seating to port, ideally suited to serve both the dinette to starboard and the cockpit out of the sliding glass doors. The fridge is located at the aft end of it for just that reason. I like how the aft bench of the dinette has an adjustable backrest so that, when the sliders are open, guests can face aft and socialize with folks in the cockpit or just enjoy watching the wake.
Other coupes, such as the Tiara 44 Coupe ($903,704 with twin 435 hp Volvo Penta IPS600 diesels), employ a salon abovedecks that flows into the cockpit, but the Tiara’s is a split-level. Others, like the Regal 42 Sport Coupe ($751,665 with twin 300 hp Volvo Penta IPS400 diesels), feature a more traditional layout, with more open space abovedecks and with the galley and salon below.
From the C43’s cockpit, it’s easy to walk forward to the bow along the side walkways. The walkway itself is 13 inches wide, so you don’t have to shimmy sideways, and there are strategically placed handholds along the way. Not to mention that the stainless-steel bow rail measures above my knees (I’m 5 feet 11 inches, average height), so it serves as a handhold and is tall enough not to trip over. The bow area is flat with a nonskid surface, so it’s a safe spot for handling lines or dealing with the anchor windlass tucked under a bow hatch. There’s a remote-controlled spotlight mounted on the bow rail.
With the boat’s wide beam and spacious interior, you’d expect it to look kind of like a floating tub. This is not the case. Carver worked hard to design the C43 with a sleek, sporty profile with an eye-catching broken sheer line. It has none of the excessive freeboard seen on the older generation of cruiser-oriented coupes. With the twin 480 hp Cummins diesels, we pushed this boat to a pleasant top speed of 36.5 mph. Ease off the throttles just a bit and the boat settles into a sweet spot at around 28 mph. While it’s not a speed burner, the diesel power and 350-gallon fuel tank give the boat a peak 329-mile cruising range. And that’s the point of this boat, not only to cruise but also to make the journey as entertaining as possible along the way.